Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Overthinking Films #1 - The Internship

Dear mortals.

One days to go. Actually less than that- until Edinburgh 2013. It's going to happen. Finally. But for now, something different.

This particular blog will be a try-out for a potential new feature, depending on how often I will find the time to go to the cinema and watch a movie, or anything, specifically not aimed at being over-analysed, and then over-analysing it. To a ridiculous degree. I find, if I over-analyse everything else in my life, why don't I use this ability to effect major positive change in the world? Or, of course, I could talk rubbish about films, which is what everyone does on these things. The choice is blatantly obvious. So, film number one:

#1 - The Internship
(sarky) Blurb: Essentially two hours of smoke blown up the arses of gazillionaires Larry Hagman (spot the cameo!) and Sergei Brin, with the blonde and chubby double act of Owen Wilson (starring as 'blonde') and Vince Vaughn (starring as 'chubby') regurgitated ad nauseam. Includes nerdery, strippers and lots of 'university of life'-based positive thinking crap. Actually very diverting.

Firstly, and unavoidably, The Internship is a relentless commercial break preaching the goodness of google. I imagine that coming up with a non-existent internet search engine would be missing the point slightly, since the work-as-play attitude that currently represents neo-dotcom corporations, and, with it, silicon valley. But I would argue that calling it Lycos would have been funnier. The essential benignity of 'connecting people' was spouted as if it were not a multi trillion dollar advertising machine. The language used reminded me of plenty of 1990s information superhighway masturbatory fantasies, as lived by idiots who prefer the beanbag over the swivelchair. More about that later.

Secondly, the visual representation of google's headquarters. Part Teletubbie land, part training levels in Final Fantasy VIII; google is presented as a bouncy castle for hedonistic manchildren with poor social skills. These manchildren populate the place, typing away and flapping at their tablets like morons. The only person who seems to have an actual job is the unavoidable 'hot one', who's Aussie (but uses a New Zealand/RP/Mid-Atlantic burr in order to sound sexy I can only assume). 'Blonde' obviously falls head over heels in love with her. More about that later. The manchildiness is represented most potently by a character called Lyle who is mainly a nerdy haircut and some glasses. So am I, but that is not strictly speaking relevant. There also is a 'cool' nerd, a kid who picks out his own eyebrow hair in an OCD-typical act of self-punishment. Self-mutilation, obviously, is hilarious. Especially if the perpetrator is a young male with some kind of Asian origin. Haha! Did I mention this is a comedy? Although drawing on an eyebrow with a felt tip pen is very funny.

Thirdly, naturally, the baddie. He is English, called Graham. Personally, I know one Graham, he's from Manchester and unquestionably lovely. One of those mistakes that Hollywood keeps on making is casting British actors as the 'evil' ones -which they're allowed to do, I suppose- but then giving them the script for the jocks in a Revenge of the Nerds film. From my experience British people don't bitch to people straight into their faces. If they hate you, you will probably never find out. Not that I care, but it does mean that I now doubt the veracity of all of my friendships. I suppose that's the territory that goes with politeness. But leaving the notion of my personal life for just one moment: the actor who's playing the baddie, is justifiably good at playing a dick. To the extent that he becomes just that.
God, I just realised.
He is Draco Malfoy.
Also highly unpleasant, Draco Malfoy, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, first tries to bond with Potter, before becoming the ├╝berdick from space that we all love to spit at. Graham thingy, in this film, does exactly the same thing, meaning that his character has the depth of a minidisc.

Fourthly, it is unquestionably a high school film. The 'campus', where the bulk of the film takes place, is quite nightmarish. The hanging fluorescent tubes on wires reminded me of Welles' The Trial and similar office-as-hell environment. Such as The Office. Like high schools, offices are prisons we enter into every day like the willing slaves we are. We are incarcerated until the late afternoon until we are once again set free to do an entire day's work on 'having a personal life'. That's why I don't have one. That being said, the idea of office politics and high school cliques still makes me violently sick. I don't want to be in a hierarchy, nor in a place that overtly celebrates its own hierarchical nature. The fact that the interns had to wear helicopter caps with 'noogle' written on them reminds me of deeply depressing office outings. Team spirit. Even worse is the four minute sermon on team playing. Yay! Someone please kill me before I soil myself.

Fifthly, the idea that selling people stuff is a good thing in and of itself. Fuck off. Blonde and Chubby play laid-off watch salesmen, who keep on going on that selling people shit they don't need and the psychological tricks they play on their unwilling customers is somehow a good thing. I remain unconvinced. I have seen rooms of sales dicks in callcentres (a.k.a. the seventh circle of hell) turn into rabid dogs to log even a single sale. That, and The Persuasionists. Didn't think I'd use that as a reference point, did you? No, you didn't.

Sixthly, the buddy movie thing. What happens is that one of the duo Blonde and Chubby has made a decision that would throw the entirety of the film's running narrative into disarray. What follows is a long dialogue, which is best described as:
1. No.
2. Yes.
1. No, leave me alone.
2. Yes.
1. No again.
2. Yes.
1. Ok, yes.
[manly cuddles and walking off downstage centre, looked at in bewilderment by Will Farrell et al]

Seventhly, the corporate wankfestiness.
For this, I googled 'google tax avoidance', only realising as I was typing this, that google may decide to throw my internet search history onto the open market. Still, it gamely produced  7.270.000 results. Most of these are from UK based sites, the top one being the parliament website. Take for instance the following sources: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20560359 because it's the BBC and http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/google-taxes-bermuda_n_2270354.html because Ariana Huffington. That should be the new argument winner among teenagers. Down with 'whatever', 'duh' and the now oddly quaint and 90s sounding 'yeah, right'. If you want to win any argument, you should just say:
'Because Ariana Huffington". You may add a 'Boom!' and a fistbump, but that is all optional.
Back ontopic. The idea of google being so incredible and especially the catchphrase 'googliness', which doesn't sound so much like a cheer, but more like a symptom of Graves' Disease; has fallen out of favour in recent months. Revelations that google and other dot-com giants abuse the tax system by using postboxes in (in Google's case) Ireland, Amsterdam (yes, they're here!) and Bermuda to basically pay nothing to the UK, US and European markets, where they owe, big time. The sheen has gone from the big corporations and the youth of today is (hopefully) less entranced by corporate living. Not that there's anything we can do about it anymore, apart from living of the grid completely. The Guardian's John Harris explains: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/jul/29/serco-biggest-company-never-heard-of

Eighthly, Vince Vaughn - most memorably during the sporting match - is shouted at for being tall. I am myself a tall man, and I have never been called 'ya big tree!'. Not even in Scotland. The worst I ever got was in Holland, 'Is it cold up there?' which is annoying. Or, from ancient maiden aunts at sundry family gatherings: 'Gosh you've grown! Aren't young people tall nowadays?' Then I'd quip: "Yes aunt something, you're right it IS a generational thing. It has something to do with hormones in beef in the early 90s.' That would shut them up. God, was I a pleasant 15 year old or what? (I wasn't) I don't think calling someone 'ya big tree!' is sufficiently sweary. As a tall person myself, I often stare with impugnity at people who are taller than I am. Mainly because I feel all protected when I force them to hug me, after I have seduced them.

Ninethly, ageism. Oh dear. This film is nasty about every age group, apart from successful babyboomers with lots of cash, who are curiously absent. There's a bit about a salesman who's into nonogenarian threesomes. That's funny, isn't it? The objectification of old people, then the entire room going 'yuck'. Get fucked. By someone in their nineties, preferably. And enjoy it.
It's nasty to young people, who are nerdy, virginal try-hards. It acknowledges for a moment the severe difficulties faced by young people, fresh out of university, but then doesn't try to talk about why or how or because of who this generational discrepancy has occured.
It is also nasty towards men in their early forties (which Blonde and Chubby inhabit). Graham (the Baddie), is initially nice to Blonde and Chubby, believing they are successful, purely because of their age.

Tenthly, the treatment of women. OH DEAR. The nerdy one (Lyle) has fallen in love with a dance teacher at google, but then Blonde and Chubby take the 'team' out on the piss. The piss-up happens in a Cantonese restaurant, then a strip joint. THEN: ha! Hey-hey! The hot girl is one of the strippers.
Also, 'the hot one' and Blonde hit it off, go out for dinner. She hasn't had 10 years of depressing dates with dickheads. As a true Gentleman, Blonde then proceeds to be an absolute dickbag, and ends up in bed with the hot one. MEANING: be a dick. Girls go for that.

Eleventhly, the sense of 'University of Life' witticisms. TOO TIRED TO THINK.

Twelfthly, the sense of this film being 'out of time', dot-com bubble, young people unemployed out of college.


Basically, this may not be a very good idea for a blog. I will publish it. If you want to contribute you can, but I am too tired from all this negative energy. I used to be able to do this negative run for days. Now I can't really deal with it anymore. AH WELL. EDINBURGH TOMORROW!

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